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Archive for November, 2018

Spain has always been well known for its famous sweets and desserts. From small, family-owned pastry shops to modern, award-winning chocolate shops, you are likely to pass a floor-to-ceiling window display of a variety of tasty desserts in almost any area. Better yet, almost every major holiday has its own accompanying sweet in the pastry shop in Spain, and Christmas is no exception. Whether it be turrón, polvorones or mazapanes, don’t miss the chance to taste one of these incredible local products during your trip to Spain this festive season. To help you out, here are the best pastry and turrón shops in Madrid and Barcelona.

Madrid
1) La Mallorquina
Located on the corner or Calle Mayor in Puerta del Sol, La Mallorquina is often considered the most famous pastry shop in Madrid. It is also one of the oldest, having been in business for more than 100 years. The name of the bakery means “the woman from Mallorca” in English, founded as a café by Mallorcan man Juan Ripoll in the mid-1800s. The shop has two stories and a large seating area upstairs where you can relax and watch the passers-by in Sol, while enjoying a delicious pastry with a coffee. The best-selling products here are the Neapolitan cream and the chocolate palm, but during Christmas you will also find “el Roscón de Reyes” and buñelos.

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La Mallorquina, Madrid

2) El Riojano
Also Located in Madrid’s Calle Mayor is El Riojano, a bakery opened by Riojan man Don Dámaso de la Maza in 1855. Before opening his own store, Don Dámosa worked as Queen Isabella II’s pastry chef, and to this day El Riojano still serves pastries to the Spanish royal family! Despite its small size, the Elizabethan era décor along with the showcases full of scrumptious pastries will be sure to catch the eye of any visitor. It also boasts an array of seasonal Christmas specialities, which include turrón, buñelos, el Rosco de Reyes, torrijas, polvorones and much more.

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El Riojano, Madrid

3) Casa Mira
Located just off Plaza Mayor, Casa Mira is the perfect places to go at this time of year as its most famous product is its classic turrón. Casa Mira was founded by Valencian man Luis Mira in 1855 – who walked from his hometown of Jijona in the province of Valencia to Plaza Mayor in Madrid to sell his homemade turrón out of a cart, and eventually ended up serving it to Queen Isabella II! In the days leading up to Christmas it not uncommon to find hours-long queues of people wishing to stock up on their famous speciality, so make sure you get there early!

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Casa Mira, Madrid

4) Antigua Pastelería del Pozo
Located in Calle del Pozo near Sol, Antigua Pastelería del Pozo was founded almot 190 years ago, making it the oldest Pastry shop in Madrid! It’s called Antigua for a reason, as everything from the wooden panels that cover the exterior to the old fashioned till on the counter. Even better, everything is made on-site in underground ovens! Anyone who visits this unique bakery should be sure to try their “Roscón de Reyes”, a typical dessert on Three Kings Day. The difference here is that most bakeries only sell it during the Christmas period, but Pozo sells it all year long making it arguable one of the best in Madrid!

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Antigua Pastelería del Pozo, Madrid

 

Barcelona
1) Fargas
Located in Barcelona’s Carrer del Pi, The first Farga pastry shop was founded in 1957 in Barcelona by Don Jesus Farga, which has led to 55 years of experience and more than 80 establishments under his two brands, Farga and Farggi. What makes Farga so special is its unique collections of boxes of chocolates and cookies, which vary depending on the season. Farga’s most important Christmas product is its turrón, which can be bought in a variety of different flavours as well as in an assortment in one of their famous boxes. A perfect Christmas gift!

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Fargas, Barcelona

2) Torrons Vicens
Starting off as a family business in Lérida in 1775, Torrons Vicens hold a long tradition of Nougat. The company’s aim is to keep the the artisanal, traditional essence of nougat as well as researching new recipes and products to keep producing new, updated products. They have almost every type of turrón you can imagine, making it the perfect Christmas gift!

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Torrons Vicens, Barcelona

3) La Pastisseria
Although a lot more recent to the Barcelona pastry scene, La Pastisseria is already famous for its incredible sweet products. Owned by Josep María Rodríguez Guerola – who was once a winner of the “Pastry World Cup” – this modern, minimalist pastelería offers a wide variety of unique cakes, biscuits, pastries desserts and more. They also boast an extensive Christmas range, which this year includes a wide variety of different flavour turrones, little Christmas decorated sweets, edible Christmas figures and the famous “Roscon del Rey”. With an abundance of highly complementary reviews already, this place is definitely worth a visit during your trip to Barcelona.

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La Pastiseria, Barcelona

4) La Pastisseria Escribà
The Escribà Pastry Shop is considered to be one of the best bakeries in the city. It has multiple stores located around Barcelona, where you will find an assortment of cakes, sweets and pastries which are all unique. This pastry shop was founded in 1906 and still remains as one of the most outstanding in Barcelona, due to its creativity and original concepts. At Christmas, Escribà offer a range of seasonal goods, which include their own turrón and marzipan.

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La Pastisseria Escribà, Barcelona

If you are in Madrid are Barcelona this Christmas be sure to check out some of these delicious places – but hurry – the closer to Christmas it gets, the busier they are!

If you enjoy learning about Spain’s rich culture, be sure to follow the Across Spain Travel Chronicles blog for more posts.

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Map locating Madrid and Barcelona

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Top 10 Best Spas in Spain

What better way to escape the stress of everyday life than a visit to a spa? Whether you want a unique spa treatment or to simply just relax and recharge your batteries, Spain offers a wide variety of the most unique and luxurious spas and wellness centres where you will truly be pampered. Here is a list of the top 10 best spas Spain.

 

1) Gran Hotel Bahía de Duque – Tenerife

With the intense blue of the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop, this 5-star luxury hotel is located in Costa Adeje, one of the warmest and most prestigious areas of the island of Tenerife, in the Canary Islands. It also has direct access to the Playa del Duque promenade, offering a wide variety of restaurants, cafés and exclusive shops. The hotel’s most impressive feature is its Thalassotherapy circuit, where one can enjoy hydromassage jets, bubble beds, and the therapeutic benefits of the sea water taken directly from the Atlantic Ocean. This area is also complemented by a Hammam, Saunas, Scottish Showers, a Cold Water Pool and an outdoor solarium with shaded relaxation areas

Other facilities:

  • 5 swimming pools
  • 9 restaurants
  • 13 bars and lounges
  • Wellness centre
  • 24 hour gym
  • Complimentary parking
  • 2 tennis courts
  • 2 paddle tennis courts
  • 1 squash court
  • Pitch & Putt
  • Astronomical observatory
  • Direct access to the beach

Tenerife itself is known as the Island of the Eternal Spring, where you can find the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Teide National Park. The island combines extraordinary landscapes, majestic cliffs and exotic beaches to create perfect escape.

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Gran Hotel Bahía del Duque – Tenerife

 

2) Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa – Alicante

This luxury 5-star resort in Alicante – in the Valencian Community on the east of Spain – provides guests with the serenity, peace and quiet of South-East Asia, guaranteeing perfect service with total relaxation. The resort also boasts lush tropical gardens which house more than 3,000 species from Asia, and is part of the exclusive Leading Hotels of the World group. The central feature of this world-class resort is the Thai Spa. Here, one can enjoy the famous Thai Massage, a genuine anti-stress therapy with over 2500 years of history that combines pressure and stretching with a complex sequence of yoga-based movements. The Thai spa is actually a new concept among all spas in Spain and Europe, combining Thai tradition and wisdom in an atmosphere of calm and tranquillity.

Other facilities:

  • 7 pools
  • 7 restaurants
  • 3 bars
  • Tropical Gardens
  • Gym
  • Kids Club
  • Complimentary parking
  • Sun terrace
  • Asian-style fountains
  • Can be used as conference centre

The hotel is located on the mountainside of Sierra Cortina, 150 meters above sea level, offering fantastic views of the Costa Blanca. This luxury resort affords spectacular views of Finestrat, Benidorm, Altea and even Calpe and the bay of San Juan in Alicante. There are two 18-hole golf courses in the area and is 2 km from the beach.

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Asia Gardens Hotel and Thai Spa – Alicante

 

3) SHA Wellness Clinic – Alicante

SHA Wellness Clinic is also located in Alicante, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea between the bay of Altea and the natural park of Sierra Helada. The SHA method integrates the most effective natural therapies with highly therapeutic nutrition, without neglecting the latest advances in Western medicine, especially in preventive medicine, genetics and anti-aging. This unique clinic offers an abundance of treatments to meet every need, such as wellness, weight-control and detox, anti-stress, fitness, recovery and rejuvenation.

Other facilities:

  • SHAmadi restaurant
  • Organic garden
  • Orient & Balance Rooms
  • Nursing Facility
  • Beauty Salon
  • Yoga & Meditation Studio
  • Pilates studio
  • Fitness area
  • Paddle court
  • Hydrotherapy circuit
  • Terraces
  • Infinity pool

Very close to SHA Wellness Clinic, you can enjoy picturesque villages like the charming village of Altea. An enclave that exudes health and harmony, by its intense blue light, contrasted with the white houses and the views to the Mediterranean sea. In addition, the Mediterranean is a microclimate considered by the World Health Organization as the best climatology in the world.

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SHA Wellness Clinic – Alicante

 

4) Barceló La Bobadilla, a Royal Hideaway Hotel  – Granada

This luxury 5-star hotel In Granada allows the guest to experience authentic Andalusian luxury, as the resort looks just like an old Andalusian town. You will wake up to the sun bathing the Mudejar columns and large windows, where one can gaze out and admire the olive groves and holm oaks that stretch as far as the eye can see. Guests without a doubt must visit the hotel’s U-Spa; with stone walls, and a warm and relaxing atmosphere has been created thanks to the natural light and unique features. The spa includes an indoor pool, hot tub, sensation showers and sauna.  The rooms here are equally luxurious, combining stone floors, fine wood and different styles of marble baths with views of the countryside.

Other facilities:

  • Extensive garden area
  • 3 restaurants
  • 4 bars
  • Complimentary parking
  • Tennis court
  • Paddle Tennis Court
  • Hiking paths around hotel
  • Bicycle hire
  • Tour guides
  • Available for events

The hotel’s location allows guests to explore the Sierra de Loja area, between Granada and the Costa del Sol. It is a unique corner which is accessible from Seville, Cordoba and Malaga Airport.

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Barceló La Bobadilla – Granada

 

5) Hotel Castilla Termal Burgo de Osma – Soria

Castilla Termal Burgo de Osma 4* is located in the town of Soria, in the northern part of Spain in the region of Castilla y Leon. The hotel itself is housed in an emblematic building from the 16th century, the ancient University of Santa Catalina. The building is still preserving the majesty with its plateresque facade and its Renaissance cloister, enclosed by a great glass dome as centre of the building, which today is the social meeting place of the hotel. The spa is designed for relaxation and benefits from the properties of mineral-medicinal water in its comfortable and innovative facilities. The spa team combine the best techniques with the application of mineral-medicinal water and high quality cosmetic products, creating unique treatments for guests. The Spa offers a variety of different thermal experiences lasting between 1 and 3 hours depending on the chosen ritual; eg. Shared, Eastern, Healthy or Essential.

Other facilities:

  • 2 restaurants
  • Bar
  • Thermal Pool
  • Contrast Circuit
  • Gym
  • Yoga facilities
  • Medical consultations incl. physiotherapy & nutrition
  • Sun terrace
  • Kids club
  • Available for events

The hotel is located to the south-west of Soria, about 2hrs 30mins from Madrid. The surroundings of Burgo de Osma have a unique cultural and architectural richness – a village which seems to have been frozen in time, preserving the essence of past eras through its architecture and history.

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Hotel Castilla Termal Burgo de Osma – Soria

 

6) Hotel W – Barcelona

Designed by world-renowned architect Ricardo Bofill, W Barcelona sets the scene for a spectacular stay. This 5-star hotel is located on the beachfront along the famous Barceloneta Boardwalk, with panoramic views over the Mediterranean Sea and the city of Barcelona. This hotel is home the very first Bliss Spain in Spain, which offers a signature menu of over-the-top services like the super-relaxing Blissage75™ and red carpet Triple Oxygen Treatment. Bliss ignite a modern spa revolution by combining a clever menu of super-effective services and a fun, ‘no-attitude’ atmosphere. They are set apart by their trademark touches like rhythm and blues tunes, a brownie buffet and the friendly, talented staff.

Other facilities:

  • 3 restaurants
  • Rooftop bar
  • 2 pools
  • 24 hour gym
  • Sauna & Solarium
  • Complimentary parking
  • Sun terrace
  • Available for events

The hotel is located just a 1 minute walk from Barceloneta Beach, and just 20 minutes’ walk from Barceloneta Metro Station, and buses stop outside the hotel – allowing guests to easily explore one of Europe’s most vibrant cities.

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Hotel W – Barcelona

 

7) Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda – Oviedo

This five-star resort is housed in a stunning rural castle, built in 1930. Surrounded by lush vegetation with oak and chestnuts. It boasts a beautiful location in the Asturian countryside – in Oviedo, the capital of the region of Asturias in the north of Spain – with great views of the mountains. The spa here uses a variety of traditional techniques from different cultures and aromatherapy, making the most of the benefits of each one to improve your wellbeing. This spa is also perfect if you are looking for facial treatments, as there are a wide variety to choose from. Staff here guarantee to leave your skin glowing, firm and youthful in this relaxing facility.

Other facilities:

  • 2 restaurants
  • Bar
  • Pool
  • Rooftop terrace
  • Parking
  • Complimentary parking
  • Available for events

The hotel is located in the Forest of Zoreda, just 4km from the city of Oviedo. Make the most of Asturias’ ideallic location, with a beautiful coastline as well as lively towns and cities, there is an activity to suit everyone in the surroundings of this exclusive resort.

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Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda – Oviedo 

 

8) Las Caldas Villa Termal – Oviedo

Las Caldas Spa Resort, also located in Oviedo, is a new space in which its own facilities, coupled with its amazing surrounding environment and the professional treatment of its team, will help balance body and mind, recovering the energy that we lose on a daily basis. This resort boasts a wellness centre with a very special feature: medicinal mineral waters. Combining the waters with all other applied techniques will help you regain your energy during your stay. The clinic professional will advise you on a programme best suited to your needs, whether it be detox cure, a weight loss, anti-stress or anti-smoking programme. This resort is also ideal for those who practise sport, as it boasts latest equipment and technology for assessing fitness for sports practice and a specific functional assessment to each type of sport. The Royal Spa offers the most modern facilities in the classic Bath House building. A space for relaxation that offers a wide range of services focused on health, beauty and well-being, in addition to enjoying hydrotherapy.

Other facilities:

  •  Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Sports centre
  • Acupuncture
  • Gym
  • Complimentary parking
  • Available for events

Situated in a beautiful valley on the shore of the river Nalón, Oviedo is only 8 kilometres away, and public transport is available every hour. The environment is completely natural and there are many opportunities for interacting with nature.

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Las Caldas Villa Termal – Oviedo

 

9) Alva Park Hotel & Spa – Lloret del Mar

This luxurious hotel is situated in the beach town of Fenals in the heart of Costa Brava in the coastal region of Catalonia, just a 1 minute walk from the beach. The spa here is the first Molton Brown Spa in continental Europe, with treatments designed to deliver benefits on three levels: instant improvement to the skin tone, texture and feel; deep relaxation of the mind and body; and a long-term boost to the inner health of your skin. Molton Brown’s luxurious therapies are created using pure plant, flowers and marine extracts collected from around the globe. Guests can also visit the Indian Princess bath; a warm saltwater bath with underwater music. One of the best treatments here are the Massages of the World – massages and rituals culturally transmitted from generation to generation.

Other facilities:

  • 3 restaurants
  • Bar/lounge
  • Fitness Centre
  • Indoor Golf Club
  • 2 pools
  • Kids Club
  • Terrace
  • Available for Events
  • Complimentary parking

The resort is ideally located just 35 minutes’ drive from Tossa de Mar; a charming fishing village with an ancient Romanesque walled-in area overlooking the sea, as well as some outstanding restaurants. The world-class city of Barcelona is also 1 hour away, a must see during your stay in Catalunya.

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Alva Park Hotel & Spa – Lloret del Mar

 

10) Thermae Spa Villa Padierna Palace Hotel – Málaga

This luxury five-star hotel is situated in the small village called Carratraca – which is located in  Málaga, in the Andalucía region in the south of Spain – surrounded by picturesque mountains and nature. The thermal spa baths of Carratraca are the perfect place for the regeneration of body and mind. This exclusive resort is unique thanks to its Mineral-Medicinal Waters; which flow directly from the spring to the spar at an optimum temperature, in order to preserve its properties and provide guests with its benefits through health and beauty treatment. It features programmes oriented towards weight loss and rejuvenation which comprise an organic Mediterranean low calorie diet and thermal hydrotherapy treatments, light therapy, aromatherapy, music therapy and physical and meditative exercises. The highlight here is the luxury Thermal Baths Circuit, consisting of 5 Roman Thermal pools, 21 rooms for hydrothermal treatments, facial and body aesthetics and different types of massages, Hammam and Sauna.

Other facilities:

  • 2 swimming pools
  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Rooftop terrace
  • Gym
  • Yoga and Meditation room
  • Golf Club
  • Available for Events
  • Tennis and Paddle tennis courts
  • Kids Club

This hotel is a serene, natural paradise, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, in the heart of the fertile Guadalhorce Valley with its rich natural reserves, historic legacy and renowned organic products. It lies in the centre of Carratraca, surrounding area includes the Los Ardales Nature Park (20 minutes by car) and the Museo Picasso (one hour’s drive).

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Thermae Spa in Villa Padierna Palace Hotel – Málaga

 

If you enjoyed this article, please don’t forget to follow Across Spain Travel Chronicles for more information about Spain’s rich culture and history.

 

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Map with Spa Locations

 

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